Alfred Van Cleef devised the name “Minaudière”, such as this piece, in honor of his wife Estelle Arpels, famous for airs and graces which are known in French as minauderies. Originally flat and oblong, the Minaudière, together with its fabric pouch, inspired a wide variety of models.
This yellow gold and black enamel Curl Minaudière, with its whirlpool-shaped clasp of pavé-set brilliants, was created in 1935. It houses several compartments intended to store accessories including a powder case, a lighter, a makeup case, a tortoise-shell comb and a pillbox. Practical, clever and precious, the Minaudière is the embodiment of French elegance.
Drawing featuring a Minaudière, circa 1935
Van Cleef & Arpels Archives